Ben Wiley Payton of Jackson, Mississippi is an acoustic blues artist with roots in the Delta, but he's only a relatively recent convert to the vintage style. Born in tiny Coila in the hill country just east of the Delta, Ben lived in Greenwood—the resting place of Robert Johnson—before moving as a teen with his family in the early 1960s to Chicago. There Payton fell in the city's vibrant blues and soul scene, performing with artists including Bobby Rush. In the late '60s jazz pianist Randy Weston recruited Payton for an extended stay at a club in Morocco, which widened his musical outlook. In the late '70s Payton laid down his guitar and concentrated on raising his family, but picked up the acoustic guitar again in the '90s. Payton soon returned to his home state of Mississippi, and began studying and then performing the music of early masters including Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, and Mississippi John Hurt.